Grown in Shakespeare's time in English kitchen gardens. Still cultivated in France, Germany and Italy. The roots are boiled tender like parsnips and eaten hot with a sauce. Said to be sweetish, slightly pungent, but inferior to other more widely grown roots. Boil large roots, young roots can be served raw with vinegar and pepper. Leaves can be used in the summer and autumn as a substitute for spinach. Young shoots may be blanched and served like asparagus.

In the fairy tale, Rapunzel is named after this vegetable which her father stole from a witch's garden.